X. Freer Access to the National Audience

33.

The second change would relate to the basis of ITV scheduling. At present, partly for the reasons given in (i) of paragraph 26 above and partly because of the constraints imposed by the limited opportunities of a single service, the amount of programme production which each company can undertake for national showing is broadly speaking laid down in advance. If a company wants to increase its network output it is difficult for it to do so, however good the programmes in question are, except at the expense of, and by agreement with, other programme companies.

34.

These somewhat rigid arrangements have their advantages in terms of rational planning and equitable use of the physical and creative resources of the various companies. They do, however, inevitably limit the competition to supply programmes and the possibility of arranging networking for programmes of merit that are not pre-ordained to be on the network. They also engender frustrations among creative people in the companies.

Brown Skin Gal, Stay Home and Mind Bay-bee. Billie Whitelaw and Donal McCann (Thames)
Man and Boy. Telly Savalas and Liz Frazer (Anglia)

35.

If ITV 2 were authorized, the system would be able to break out of these rigidities. The extra home-produced programmes required would be supplied both by guaranteed access and by commissioning and choice outside any quota system in the following way. There would be, to fill the newly available time, two blocks of planned and guaranteed access to the network, one for the central and one for the regional companies. There would be a third block, not allocated in advance, which would be filled by the Programme Board from equal competition. The Board would consider what the companies and outside producers had (or could have) to offer, how it fitted into the programme needs of two complementary services, and, in particular, any requirements for neglected areas of programming.

Follyfoot. Drama series inspired by Monica Dickens, starring Arthur English, Gillian Blake, Steve Hodson (Yorkshire)
Timeslip. Spencer Banks and Cheryl Burfield in the science fiction adventure series (ATV)

36.

It is tempting to say at this stage what the size of each “block” should be—and perhaps that each should consist of the same number of hours. It would also be tidy to announce a fixed quota within the third block reserved for independent outside producers. But the Authority would need to make a closer study both of what the companies themselves could do in a situation that is at least two years away and of the amount of first-class programming by independent producers, not now used, which might be available in such a situation (to be supplied probably through the programme companies on terms settled by the Programme Planning Board) before it established firm proportions. The general thought is that effective scheduling for two complementary channels demands unity of control but variety of interest and method; that an arrangement such as we describe could best meet both of the needs described in paragraph 26 above; that up to one-third of the total networked output of the two channels should come forward in a new way, by regional allocations and by choices made by the Programme Planning Board; and that the possibility of considering programmes on their merits and scheduling to meet particular needs would be greatly increased if a two-channel operation was organized in this way.

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1971 // TRANSDIFFUSION BROADCASTING SYSTEM